Thursday, November 30, 2023

Catching up…and trial on photos

So many things on my heart and mind these days—mostly good, some heavy, but overall result is that I have gotten behind with blog posting. And while I want to take some time in the next few weeks to post some thoughts, I’m feeling the need today to catch up on posting art endeavors.

Additionally, there has been a major glitch with blogger and Google, causing some of the photos I have posted in the last few months to “disappear” so that the blog posting contains a blank space with a question mark where the photo belongs. I have not yet resolved the issue as to why this is happening, I do know it is related to Google and how the photos are handled on Blogger. If not resolved fully in my mind, I may switch blogging platforms…. (Which will be a royal pain)… Thus, the trial to see if photos stay in place.

So in the interest of catching up, with the additional purpose of a trial on whether photos “stay put” in the blog post, I’ll just do a photo dump here,

Friday, September 15, 2023

Praying For My Children…and Grandchildren…and Great Grandchildren

I have always loved the imagery of a lamp or a light or a lantern, and there are many Scripture passages that use that imagery, and I love all of them. God’s Word is a lamp, a light… we are to let our lights shine, and the references go on and on. 

But yesterday I painted this lantern, and though it is certainly not my best artistic work, I was thinking about how I would like to see myself as a “light,” maybe like a flashlight or a beam of light that shows direction. That would be great, if I could be a beacon. A worthwhile goal, of course.

But I kind of like the comforting thought of just a simple lantern shining in the dark—that I would like my family, especially the little ones in our family, to think of me in this way…providing a comforting glow in the darkness.

As I was already in this frame of mind, I started reading a new book by Sharon Jaynes, Praying for Your Child from Head to Toe: A 30-Day Guide to Powerful and Effective Scripture-Based Prayers.

I knew I would love this book, being familiar with the author and also loving the subject matter.

I read Part One this morning. She had me at Chapter 1, “The Battle for Our Children.” As she sets the stage for talking about praying for our children, she begins by telling of the birth of her child, and her words resonated with me for sure. It has been 53 years since I became a mother, but I remember it like it was yesterday. She writes, “An inexplicable bond exists between a mother and her child. While the new life is being knit together in a mother’s womb, her very blood is pumped from her heart to her child’s. And even though the umbilical cord is cut in the delivery room, an invisible, indelible cord of love holds mother and child together for the rest of their lives. A quote attributed to Elizabeth Stone says it so well: ‘Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.’”

Sharon goes on to say, “God has given moms the privilege and parental responsibility to shape and to mold not just another human being but an eternal soul, for a very short, very fleeting period of time. While our roles and responsibilities change throughout the stages from childhood through adulthood, one constant remains…prayer. And though hopefully our children will outlive us, they will never outlive our prayers that are etched in the heart of God.”

The first 50 pages of the book are an introduction to the actual 30 days of prayer, and then, following, each day uses Scripture to pray over the child from head to toe.

To impress upon the reader (mothers and grandmothers) the importance of our role as prayer warriors for our children, Sharon recounts this poem written by a grown man, entitled “The Warrior.” 

This morning my thoughts traveled along
To a place in my life where days have since gone
Beholding an image of what I used to be
As visions were stirred and God spoke to me

He showed me a Warrior, a soldier in place
Positioned by Heaven, yet I saw not the face
I watched as The Warrior fought enemies
That came from the darkness with destruction for me

I watched as The Warrior would dry away tears
As all of Heaven’s Angels hovered so near
I saw many wounds on The Warrior’s face
Yet weapons of warfare were firmly in place

I felt my heart weeping, my eyes held so much
As God let me feel The Warrior’s prayer touched
I thought “how familiar” the words that were prayed
The prayers were like lightning that never would fade

I said to God “please, The Warrior’s name”
He gave no reply, He chose to refrain
I asked, “Lord, who is broken that they need such prayer?”
He showed me an image of myself standing there

Bound by confusion, lost and alone
I felt prayers of The Warrior carry me home
I asked “please show me Lord, this Warrior so true”
I watched and I wept, for Mother, the Warrior was you!
—Larry S. Clark

I read this a few times. Picturing myself as possibly in the role of The [Prayer] Warrior for my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren—yes, it makes me realize how very important, even urgent, it is that I continue to pray for each of them, every day. Who knows what battles it may help them win, if God can continue to use me as The Warrior. 

Pretty big job. Pretty important role. Behind the scenes. Unseen but always fulfilling my role.

Yes. That’s my goal. That’s my ministry. 

#SharonJaynes #children #grandchildren #greatgrandchildren #watercolorlantern #prayingforourchildren #prayer #thebattleforourchildren #prayerwarrior

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Oh “Goodness”

Wow, I just checked and was shocked to see that it has been almost three months since I posted on the blog. Also it has been that long since I painted. I always wonder if I’ll be able to “get back to it” after a long break.

Any time my painting subject is fruit, I think about the Scripture reference about “fruits of the Spirit.” My prayer journal documents this passage as one that I pray for myself.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

I always know that I fall short of exhibiting every one of those fruits. I guess that’s why it is a prayer request for myself.

Of the fruits that are listed here, for no real reason, this mandarin orange that I just painted makes me think of GOODNESS. 

Well, I do love citrus fruit, and I always feel sorry for someone like my sweet granddaughter-in-law who is allergic to citrus. She doesn’t get to enjoy some of the most delicious fruits in the world!

Side note: I have become more and more disgruntled about the “state” of social media these days. I am backing out of some of my previous involvement. For now I am still sharing on Instagram, and I am maintaining my blog, because it may be that it becomes the only place where I share my art. (Well, and for a long time now, my blog has been the only place where I can get on my soapbox and/or “vent”!)

Also will keep sharing on my Pinterest boards for now. 

#watercolor #watercolormandarinorange #mariaraczynska #fruitsofthespirit #goodness #socialmedia #pinterest

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

“Roots” and “Home”

Since we moved to Washington State full-time almost two years ago, I have been thinking about the difference between ROOTS and HOME. I believe this could be answered in different ways by different people, but for me, this is it:

My ROOTS are “where I am from” - and the term “roots” carries with it a depth of meaning. 

My ROOTS are in Missouri. I spent most of my 75 years (so far) there (with time away for hubby’s military locations during his three years in the USMC).

I love my ROOTS. I love Missouri. It’s a great place to live and raise a family, especially in the rural areas, which is where we always lived. 

I love the four seasons as they occur in Missouri. I even love the heat, because it is part of what defines Missouri. 

I love the wildlife and the trees and the crop farms and the cattle farms. I love the state parks and the caves and the springs and the country roads. 

I love the thunderstorms and the fact that when it “comes a rain,” I can know that it is going to be over soon and there will be sunny skies afterward (not to be confused with the months of rainy weather in Washington).

In Missouri, things just “seem to make sense” (quoting my daughter-in-law, who also has Missouri roots).

I could write a book about my roots.

When I was first married, my husband and I spoke of “home” when we were talking about our parents’ homes. When we were newlyweds and in college, for example, we would say “We are going home for the weekend.” We meant we are going to our parents’ homes, where we each grew up and lived until our marriage.

For some people, the place of their ROOTS is also the place of their HOME. They live where they always lived, likely where their parents lived and maybe their ancestors before that. So there may not be a clear differentiation between roots and home. 

But, for me, now when I speak of HOME, I am talking about where I live…where my life is…where a large part of my family is…where the setting may sometimes feel “foreign” because I’m not “from here” (my roots are not here), but it’s still HOME because it’s where my life is right now. And that is by choice. 

We really do miss Missouri, but we choose to live where there are now 10 of our immediate family (Hubby, me, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, grandson, granddaughter-in-law, three great grandchildren) who are in our home most every Sunday for dinner, after church (where our son is Pastor and our grandson is Pastor of Worship and Discipleship).

I know the saying is “Home is where the heart is.” And that’s true. Clearly, as I have described it, I love my ROOTS, and I love my HOME. But my heart is where I live, so, yes, my HOME is where my heart is, and that’s in Washington State right now. 

My roots and my home are 32 driving hours apart. And that’s okay. This is where God has placed me for now.

My art sometimes reflects my roots and sometimes my home. I just painted a blue jay. We do not have blue jays in Washington state, but we had a lot of them in Missouri. They would always disrupt the peaceful environment of our bird feeders when they visited, scaring away all the birds who play nice (not to be confused with the blue jays, who were bossy). But I do miss them, because I associate them with my ROOTS. 

They are fun to paint because they are so colorful.

This blue jay was painted with direction from a tutorial by Louise de Masi.


Monday, May 1, 2023

“Ripple Effects”

I just finished reading the most inspirational book I have read in quite some time. My granddaughter-in-law mentioned this title to me when we were thinking of a book for our second Girls’ Book Study (which didn’t materialize, sadly for me). This book, written by the mom of one of my favorite sports figures of the last several years (Tim Tebow) is all about my favorite topic, influencing family. 

The book is Ripple Effects: discover the miraculous motivating power of a woman’s influence by Pam Tebow.

The entire book is filled with inspiring stories, written by someone who sees her mission in life as this (derived from Psalm 127): “To love and train my children as the gifts and rewards that God intends them to be and aim them toward the target of an influential life that honors God and impacts their world.” Quite a mission statement, and she has seen her mission fulfilled with all of her five children. 

She goes on to say, “I had no sense of a mission when I was growing up, so I was highly motivated to provide a framework for purpose and influence through the unique missions God created for my children.” 

Then she paraphrased the passage that I am adopting as MY mission statement, Psalm 78: “My role,” she writes, “is to tell the generations to come the praises of God, His strength, and the wonderful things that He has done, so their confidence would be in God. One generation influences the next when we convey God’s wondrous works. Tell your God stories to influence those in your sphere to ask Him to write amazing God stories just for them.”

So, that caught my attention, because I am kind of “known” for story-telling. By “known” I mean, when I start to recount a true story from my [long] past, there is some eye-rolling happening, and I can almost hear the “Oh, here we go… again.”…. Then, my rationalization is, “Yeah, but now we have another new one to our family who hasn’t heard this story yet” (and I’m thinking, “and, honestly, it wouldn’t hurt YOU to hear it again…..”)

So, yeah, I tell those stories, and some of them are stories of actual miracles that have happened in MY own lifetime, in my own family. So, yeah, I’ll tell them AGAIN.

My Mission Statement:
“I will declare wise sayings; I will speak mysteries from the past  — things we have heard and known and that our ancestors have passed down to us. We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed. He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children so that a future generation — children yet to be born — might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep his commands.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭78‬:‭2‬-‭7‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Today I read further about what the Bible has to say about generations (it’s a lot—I only touch on it here).

I read this, “Modern Americans tend to think of our own life and—if marriage and kids are part of the picture—our children and perhaps grandchildren. But God thinks in terms of generations, a much longer view.”

Here are some verses that encourage us to think about family in terms of generations, generations of influence.

Genesis 9.12: And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations.”

Genesis 17.7: And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

Psalm 22.30: A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation…

Psalm 103:17-18: But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear him, and his righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep his covenant, who remember to observe his precepts. ‭‭

Joel 1.3: Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.

Ephesians 3.21: …to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

From Pam Tebow’s Ripple Effects:

“What would happen if you decided that when you put this book down, you would influence people on purpose through the mission God has created for you? God designed you for influence. Your role is to seek Him by faith, day by day, for grace to live out the perfect plan He has for you. God’s part is to accomplish more than we could ask or think according to the power, the miraculous motivating power, that works within us (see Ephesians 3:10). And heaven will reveal the ripple effects when we fulfill our God-created missions.”

How challenging!!!

On another note, here’s my artwork from last week:

Carolina Wren in Watercolor

#generationstocome #influenceofawoman #PamTebow #RippleEffects #MyMissionStatement 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Think on These Things


I chose to paint this flower because it is a lily, and I was thinking about this Scripture passage, Matthew 6:28-30 (ESV):

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

This is a “think on these things” passage for me. It is an admonition not to worry. I need to “think on” that. A lot.

For Christmas, I received a journal from my grandson and his wife. I decided to use it as a “Think on These Things Journal.”

Following is what I wrote in one of my entries in this journal:

I like what Courtney Doctor says regarding the following passage:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. - Romans 8:5-8, NIV

In her Bible study “In View of God’s Mercies,” Courtney says, “The focus of your life will determine the trajectory of your life…Setting your mind on the things of God means that you think about God, His Word, and His ways. You seek the things of God, trust the ways of God, and live under the influence and authority of the Word of God.”

I tag my entries in this Journal with the relevant topic from the list in Philippians 4:8 (see my handwritten note in the journal, above). This entry is tagged

I also painted the Leucadendron on a page in my Interleaved Journaling Bible:

This Bible has a totally blank page (front and back), between each page of Scripture, allowing space to paint and write in the Bible without marking or painting on the actual printed pages in the Bible.

Note: It has been a long time since I have done a page of art in one of my Journaling Bibles. I had forgotten that watercolor does not play well with a page that has had gesso applied first (which I did here). It was a challenge to make it even presentable! (Totally different from painting on watercolor paper, as was the case for the piece at the top of this post.)

#watercolor #bibleartjournaling #leucadrendon #liliesofthefield #donotworry #thinkonthesethings

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Two Themes of My Current Quiet Times (Related?)

First of all, a completed watercolor art piece serves as my “cue” to write a blog post. Thoughts that have been swirling in my head begin to come to a focal point as I finish a watercolor and think about sharing it. Usually, as is the case today, the painting and the “thoughts in my head” are not related topically. 

A finished painting that I want to share on my blog is my prompt to also share some thoughts. Again, usually not related.

Today’s art work, however, IS related to today’s weather, coincidentally. Here in the PNW, we rarely get ANY snow, and even more rarely do we got an accumulation. It has been snowing all day today, and we may even get six inches of accumulation. While my family in Missouri is pretty much DONE with snow for this winter, I am NOT tired of it and am really enjoying it. 

The artwork for today is a Fox in Snow.

As I said, the finished artwork which prompted me to post is not really relative to the THOUGHTS on my mind. 

Sometimes it’s strange how several “elements” all point to the same topic, appearing to happen quite coincidentally.

As I wrote about in my last post, one of the current themes in my quiet times has been that Gratitude Brings Joy. Simultaneously, I am always interested in devotionals and books about stress and worry, as that is the area where I need the most spiritual discipline.

I am seeing that there is definitely a relationship between experiencing Joy that comes through Gratitude, with a resulting by-product of being able to more effectively deal with stress and worry.

So I came across a Bible study (in the Bible app) called “Breath as Prayer.” I was so taken by the devotional that I ordered the corresponding book (author Jennifer Tucker, Foreword by Ann Voskamp).

“The science of breathing and the practice of praying God’s Word can work hand-in-hand to help calm your body and reorient your mind toward Christ.”

In the Foreword, Ann Voskamp says, “…the real purpose of prayer is not about convincing God to do what we want but about awakening to what Gods already is doing and doing that redemptive work with Him. Prayer is the subversive work that defies the lie that all that is happening is just what we see but trusts that underneath, and through everything, God’s revolutionary and redeeming work is still victoriously happening.”

The first Breath as Prayer that I learned in the Bible app devotional:

Another example:

So, I like this combination of deep breathing and praying God’s Word.

Today after finishing the fox painting, I have been baking Honey Oatmeal bread and organizing a large basket full of books-in-progress, Bible studies-in-progress, prayer journals, other journals.

As I’m putting in bookmarks and trying to re-stack things in such a way that I will be able to actually finish a few of these in-progress things, I can’t help but take note of the fact that I’m seeing things on my two themes:

In my “All God’s Creatures: Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers,” the devotional for today closes with this prayer: “Father, thank You that all creation declares Your glory. Help me remember that worrying is not part of Your plan for my life. Amen.” (Well, I suppose the fox painting does somewhat fit here—All God’s Creatures, just sayin’.)

In my “As Long as I Have Breath: Serving God with Purpose in the Later Years” devotional, today’s topic is “Addressing Anxiety” and one of the suggested practices is “Keep a list of all you’re thankful for.” (See previous blog post.)

One of the printouts I pulled out of a journal to add to a “stack” has this quote that I just saw: “Willful worry amounts to rejection of God’s character and damages our capacity for the life he calls us to. It is rooted in a theological misunderstanding of who God is, the nature of life in this world and our place in the universe.

And I’ve just noticed that one of the books in my stack that I have not yet even opened (gift from my daughter-in-law) is “Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy,” by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Seriously?!

As I’m trying to organize, in a markedly DISorganized manner, these reminders of how Gratitude Brings Joy and how Breath as Prayer helps with stress and worry, and how that all of this is, yes, in fact, related—I love how God brings things together sometimes!

#GratitudeBringsJoy #BreathasPrayer #watercolorfoxinsnow #GodisSovereign

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Gratitude Brings Joy

Periodically I look for Bible Studies on the topic of Joy. Christ- following, self-diagnosed “worriers” like myself need reminders of how we should be living, and exhibiting, a joyful life.

So today I started another Bible study on the topic of Joy, and I copied the first day’s devotion into my journal. I share it here. It’s good.

From my journal today, From Roxanne Parks Bible study, “The Transforming Power of a Grateful Heart”

(Note: All italicized words are quoted from Roxanne.)

My Journal of Gratitude

Depression and anxiety are suffocating emotions. During a particularly difficult season in my life, I fought back the onslaught of both. To name a few of the issues: my teens were lying, my parents were dying, we were dog broke, and I was dealing with too many menopausal issues to count. I was spinning plates as fast as I could, and yet there was no peace on the horizon. Life felt extremely heavy! The burdens I carried were weighing me down into a miserable pit. But as a Christian, I even piled shame on myself for feeling this way. Wasn’t I supposed to be living an abundant life? BUT GOD! He graciously intervened.

During that particularly difficult season, I read the book 1000 Gifts by Anne Voskamp. Desperately needing some oxygen for living, and inspired by Anne’s story, I started journaling everything that I could possibly be grateful for. I asked God to open my eyes to even the smallest gift . . . like a knuckle to help wrap my finger around my coffee cup, like heating and air conditioning, like toilet paper, like fresh air. This daily exercise didn’t lift me out of my pit immediately, but it started a rich journey toward a new type of wholeness—a wholeness birthed through the lens of a grateful heart. 

As I continue to diligently open my eyes and my heart to all the gifts in my life, I began to recognize them everywhere. It was like there was a whole new world to appreciate that I hadn’t taken the time to see or made the choice to notice.

Across weeks of writing down and” naming” these gifts, a light-heartedness developed even amidst the trials of each day. My grateful heart slowly pushed out the weightiness of my days. I began to realize that a grateful heart and an anxious heart could not simultaneously reside in the same person at the same time. It was either anxiety or gratitude taking up the space of my heart.  I became excited to venture into each new day with new eyes to see new gifts. Depression gave way to a gratitude, and gratitude became my best antidepressant. Not just a “one and done” type gratitude, but a consistent diligent gratitude that almost refused to be sucked back into that pit of despair again. My life was too precious to live that way.

I flew through 1,000 gifts within months and decided that this was a new way of life. A grateful heart had transformed my days. Even more exciting, my grateful heart began to permeate my home and my family. So many things began to change when I changed my heart. This is a battle ground worth fighting on. I celebrated this new life-giving habit. I found that there is transforming power in a grateful heart.


Ponder the tension between your gratitude and depression, between joy and sadness. How can you make deliberate choices to open your eyes and journal all the gifts you have been given?


Lord, help me constantly and daily choose to see Your gifts everywhere. Open my eyes to gratitude and the choice to give You thanks in all things.


*So, I have read the book by Anne Voskamp. At one time I started listing hundreds of things, small and large, to be thankful for. It was a good thing to do.

I’m deciding to do that again, with the desired outcome of increasing my joy. 

Some days I will only list one thing. Other days, several things.

I need to develop an attitude of gratitude and learn to be aware of all the thousands of things that I have to be grateful for--big things, small things. 


Today I am thankful for the awareness that I am “back on track” with my favorite hobby, watercolor art. It has been a bit of a challenge, after taking a break through November and December. I am now able to move forward, and although I always know that I need to improve--a lot--I do allow myself to enjoy feeling good about a piece that I have completed.

Yesterday and today I was able to follow along with a tutorial by Louise de Masi to complete this sweet little giraffe. 

So, I’m thankful for this today.

#gratitudebringsjoy #attitudeofgratitude #keepajournal #joy #gratitude #watercolorpractice #watercolorgiraffe

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Two Paintings and an Encouraging Word

Having a bit of a hard time getting back into the comfortable feel of painting where I was before the long break over the holidays. I am not particularly proud of either of these two pieces, but I share them in the interest of being accountable. 

This is one of my favorite verses. I have likely posted it before (and will again). It feels like a promise to me. If it’s not a literal promise, I can for sure say that it is encouraging to me. 

The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, to declare, “The Lord is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.””

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭92:12-15‬ ‭CSB‬‬

#watercolorpainting #watercolorpuppy #watercolorapple #encouragingwordaboutoldage

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

2023 Already Underway!

Wow, it seems like I was thinking about 2023 being almost here, and now, the first month is almost gone! 

We had a wonderfully holiday, first with family celebrations here in Washington, and then a road trip to Missouri where we spent holiday time with our daughter and her family as well as our siblings. We tacked on a few days in a cabin in Branson before beginning the return trek.

So, we admit to being crazy with our choice of driving instead of flying, which resulted in 8 of our 14 days of “the trip” being “on the road” (and I do mean literally driving 8-12 hours on each of those days). We were pretty tired by the time we got back home!

I am just now getting back into routines, so this week I got the paints out, after several weeks of holidays and travels. I always feel like it takes me some time to get “the feel” back. 

I started with a simple painting of my favorite bird from Missouri, a male cardinal. For this one, there was not a tutorial to follow, but my teacher Maria did a painting from this reference photo, and I copied Maria’s painting, using my own “process.”

Reference photo available from a site that allows free use of the photos:

My “version:”

It’s always nice to travel, it’s especially nice to see family, but it’s also great to be back home, with our routine of spending time with our Washington family, enjoying our weekly Sunday dinners with 9 of us at our house, after our wonderful church service with our son Pastor and our grandson Worship/Discipleship Pastor.

Best Wishes for a Blessed 2023,